Sunday, August 23, 2009

Australian Rail Freight upgrade switches Road Cargoes

A$73 million project completed on time
Shipping News Feature

VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA – The Mildura to Melbourne railway upgrade, first mooted last year, was completed this month in time for the annual grain harvest. The line connects the region to the Ports of Melbourne and Geelong.

95% of Grain from the Mildura region passes by rail to Geelong. Estimates put the loss to Victoria’s economy at A$100 million per annum unless the line is made more efficient. There had been calls for the line to be standardised from its wide gauge format and these continue.

Fully upgrading the line could reduce the number of heavy vehicles on the roads by 91,000. Pressure is being applied by the rail lobby and ecological interests to try to avoid the presence of *“B triples” on the roads of Victoria.

 • “BTriples” are a stage up from the more familiar “B doubles” in which two trailers are linked as a road train to a tractor unit by fifth wheel couplings.